Every day, new business partnerships are announced in the Technology Sector, with just as many falling apart and failing. Unfortunately, not all business relationships succeed, nor can they all be a home run.
Great business partnerships are built, not born. In today’s business environments, a thriving partner ecosystem is vital to success. This is best exemplified by our exclusive Business Partner renewal announcement last week with long time Business Partner, Silverside BV. This relationship, like many others we have, has been win-win since day one. Here’s my partial list to building and nurturing a great partner ecosystem:
It all starts with a Great Product. Basically, no one gets excited from a ‘ho-hum’, me-too product. Not the customer, not the business partner. The product needs to have sales-appeal and create excitement in the marketplace. Products that create excitement and attention from customers are the ones business partners are most interested in. With DOCOVA, we’ve been able to generate excitement in the market around the world – and attracted world-class business partners in the process.
The Foundation is Great People. The people of the relationship need to respect each other, work with each other, and resolve any conflicts quickly. It’s the people involved who drive the results – and the better the relationship, the better the results. Since you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time together, you should enjoy each other. Great people like Roland Driesen (picture left below) have made DOCOVA great… and yes, since he flew to Canada to sign the renewal, we treated him to his wish – dinner at the CN Tower in Toronto (because that’s what great people do).
Commitment and Trust. Great people see the potential immediately, and commit fully upfront. The more dependable each party can be, the higher level of trust that develops within the relationship. When the vendor maintains open communication and commitment to the product roadmap, technical support, and co-marketing assistance – the business partner is more likely to continue to invest time, energy, and resources into selling, learning, and supporting/servicing the product. Without the upfront commitment, things won’t get off the ground.
Create Business Value – on Both Sides. Everyone needs to win. This should go without saying, but how many of you have been burned by business partners/vendor channel programs in the past ?
If the partner can make good, solid returns on your product, they’re more inclined to invest more in your business. On the other side, Partners need to bring vendors real deals – not constantly asking for ‘special bid’ pricing. When both parties make money and the total solution creates significant value for end customers, then the business partnership thrives.
Give to Get. A business partnership is like being married. If one partner has to continue to bend to satisfy the other, eventually that partner will walk away from the relationship. If you want special attention, you must give, provide or continue to do something in return.
When we first started the exclusive Business Partner agreement with Silverside 18 months ago, it was because they hit every target we put in front of them, thus they earned the right to ask and receive.